Adorable, affordable, and nutritional. Guess what else! Delicious, of course. This is a tiny tribute to the rather underestimated black-eyed peas and this Mediterranean vegan black-eyed peas recipe is one of the best ways to enjoy them.
Why you need this recipe
Black-eyed peas belong to the big legume family and they are a staple not only in Mediterranean cuisine but in many other cuisines all over the world. They aren't so popular (compared to lentils and chickpeas for instance) and I cannot see why. They are so much easier to prepare than most dried legumes because they don’t require an overnight soak.
- QUICK & EASY: Only 10 minutes of prep time. Then it is mostly hands-off cooking time unless you use a canned product that reduces total time to 20 minutes. Perfect for busy nights!
- NUTRITIONAL: Their nutritional value is undeniable. They contain approximately 11 grams of protein per cup, a great variety of essential vitamins, minerals antioxidants, and digestion-friendly fiber. Plus, their taste is amazing!
- VERSATILE: They are one of my favorite cooking ingredients. So versatile. I make ahead a bunch of them and use them as a vegetable stew (like today’s post), as a salad with tons of Mediterranean herbs (like the one in my fridge), or as a delicious spread (like the one I am going to post one day).
Black-eyed peas: dried or canned?
So, off we go with the usual question for bean (legume) recipes. To tell you the truth, I have never (ever) used canned ingredients of any kind. There is (almost) no market for canned products in the Mediterranean area because it is obvious that consumers prefer fresh food over canned.
However, I get the convenience of canned products and I strongly believe that good quality canned food (no excess sodium and no BPA) is superior food than prepackaged food and fast food. I suppose you share the same opinion.
Great! Therefore, instead of picking up the phone and ordering that greasy, fatty, kind of pizza, you might grab the canned black-eyed peas and make my recipe in no time. Right?
How to purchase black-eyed peas
I used dried black-eyed peas which I find in the market and I am pretty sure they aren’t old. How do I know it? If they are old, they take way longer time to cook and sometimes you wait for hours without any success at all. Therefore, choose a place with a high legume turnover or purchase a packaged product of good quality, and always remember: the fresher the better!
To soak or not to soak them?
Even though soaking black-eyed peas isn't strictly necessary, you cannot overlook the significant benefits of soaking: it quickens cooking time, improves their texture, and may increase digestibility most of the time.
So I would recommend soaking black-eyed peas overnight especially if you are relatively new to their consumption. I mean if it's your first time you cook black-eyed peas, take the safe road and ensure digestibility by soaking.
Then if your body tolerates them efficiently (meaning no gas and bloating), follow my super quick soaking method: bring the peas to a boil, and let them boil for 2-3 minutes. Drain, rinse and you are good to go.
The rest of the ingredients
VEGETABLES: It's the usual Mediterranean onion-garlic combo and then carrots, tomatoes, and celery for this recipe. You may add more veggies of your choice like peppers, leeks, sun-dried tomatoes, potatoes, etc.
OLIVE OIL: As always, the recipe uses extra virgin olive oil, known for being the least processed and highest quality oil. Plus, it enhances the overall taste and total nutrients. In a few words, we love it! Use the best quality you can purchase.
SPICES: Red pepper flakes, dried thyme, bay leaves, black pepper. You may add more but, I vote for "less is more", especially in cooking.
HERBS: I use parsley but a good substitute can be cilantro and chives.
How to make black-eyed pea stew
In a nutshell, we are going to prepare the black-eyed peas. Once ready, you will mix them with caramelized veggies to get a thick stew with layers of flavor that will enhance and complement each other. Not drooling over your phone or keyboard yet? You will! See below for more details.
Prepare the black-eyed peas
Begin with a first 3-minute boil. Drain and rinse the peas. This step is a super quick-soaking procedure. Set aside.
Prepare the veggies and boil
Stir in onion-garlic and saute for a few minutes. Then add the carrots, celery, and black-eyed peas.
Add the tomatoes, vegetable broth or water, and all the spices. Bring to a boil, cover, lower heat, and simmer for 15 minutes or until black eye peas are tender enough.
When the peas are ready, turn off the heat and add parsley. Stir, remove from heat, and serve. Top with more parsley or chives or cilantro and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.
How Greeks serve black-eyed pea stew
Serve this amazing vegan black-eyed pea recipe with marinated anchovies, sardines, or smoked herring. In Greece, we like to serve beans as a main dish and a smaller portion of fish as a side dish. It is exquisite because it not only elevates the flavor but also enhances the nutrient profile of the meal.
Fish, especially fatty fish like sardines and herring, are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids, while legumes contribute plant-based protein, fiber, and other essential nutrients.
Finally, don't forget either whole-wheat pitas or crusty homemade bread. The salads I recommend to pair with this dish are either this traditional Greek cabbage salad or this kind-of-salad-but-can-be-an-appetizer-too beet dish.
How to serve leftovers
This vegan black-eyed peas recipe makes the best leftovers! They’re even tastier on days 2 and 3.
It is excellent and even more filling to mix your black-eyed pea leftovers with grains like whole-wheat pasta, rice, or even quinoa. It’s a perfect easy-to-make meal for your lunchbox too.
How to store and freeze
Storing and freezing this stew is a great way to extend its shelf life and have convenient meals ready to go. They should keep fresh in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat them gently in a pot on the stove. Add some water or broth if you need more liquid.
Store them in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Transfer to the fridge a day before you plan to use it for gradual thawing.
If you make my recipe, you have to let me know! I love your feedback. This is a huge motivation for me and it keeps 30daysofgreekfood’s kitchen alive. Bookmark this recipe and leave your rate and comment below, or take a photo with your Vegan Black-eyed Peas recipe and tag me on Instagram with #30daysofgreekfood and Facebook with @30daysofgreekfood.
Mediterranean Vegan Black-Eyed Peas Recipe
- 1½ cup (250g) dried black-eyed peas or 2x14 ounce cans
- ¼ cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 spring onions, chopped
- 2 large carrots, peeled, sliced into ½-inch thick rounds or half-moons
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 celery sticks, diced
- 2 tomatoes, diced or 1 cup passata or 14-ounce can of diced tomatoes
- 2 bay leaves
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ cup parsley, chopped or cilantro or chives
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Sort the peas and remove any damaged peas, stones, or debris.
- In a large pot, add the peas and cover with water about 2 inches above them. Bring to a boil and let them cook for 2-3 minutes. Drain carefully, rinse them, and set aside.
- Wash the same pot, add the peas and freshly boiled water about 4 inches above them. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium-high for 30 minutes. Drain carefully and set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a large pan with lid, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the onion until soft for 3-4 minutes, and the garlic for another 2 minutes, Lower to medium heat, then add the carrots, celery, black-eyed peas, and salt. Saute 5 more minutes. Stir constantly.
- Add the tomatoes (or passata) and the bay leaves, dried thyme, and red pepper flakes. Season to taste.
- Pour in hot vegetable broth of water to cover the vegetables and bring to a boil. Cover with the lid, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for another 15 minutes. Stir occasionally. Taste the peas. They should be tender. If not, let them simmer until you reach the desired tenderness. You may add more hot water or broth.
- When the peas are ready, turn off the heat and add the parsley (or cilantro or chives). Stir, remove from heat, and serve.
- To serve: Top with more parsley (or chives or cilantro). Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.